Old Delhi Bazaars – An Exploration

Delhi, as a city, has been a shopping destination for people for more than hundreds of years. The various markets or bazaars, as we call them, have been selling their wares since the times of the Mughals and their attraction has only grown since then. While the prices may have gone up since the olden times, the charm of these places remains the same even today. From the cheapest jewellery, to clothes in every colour and pattern, to the spices at wholesale prices, Delhi has boasted of a bazaar for everything as long as anyone remembers. Here are the top bazaars anyone and everyone in Delhi should definitely walk through to get a refreshing feel of Old Delhi in the newer times.

  1. Dariba Kalan : This beautiful bazaar is a lane in the heart of Chandni Chowk and was an important part of Shahjahanabad or the Walled City. It is touted as Asia’s biggest jewellery market and one can find beautiful silver jewellery at great prices. The more you walk into the lanes, the more unique your wares will get. Bargaining is a must! Get your food fix with Old & Famous Jalebiwala’s jalebis.

Dariba Kalanjpg

  1. Kinari Bazaar : Kinari Bazaar is famous for the never-ending variety of laces, buttons and other fabric decorations. Fashion designers, tailors and wedding shoppers swear by the lanes of this market for the sheer variety at unbeatable prices. They also specialize in tailoring and recreating any dresses by adding embellishments, laces or any other thread work. Even the men have a day shopping here as it holds large varieties of turbans for grooms.

kinari bazar

  1. Ballimaran : Most famous for housing Ghalib’s haveli, Ballimaran houses leather footwear shops. Old opticians can be found in the small winding lanes of this bazaar which offer dozens of choices for your favourite frame. But there is more a little more to this bazaar. Now turned into a museum, Ghalib’s haveli is only 2 stories tall but the history and nostalgia of Old Delhi is still alive here.


  1. Chawri Bazaar : Anyone looking for paper or any other kind of stationary should hit this market once. This place is famous for its wedding cards. Being a wholesale place for paper products, the cost of getting wedding cards here is almost a third of what might be otherwise charged in the city. Though, one can also take away wall-hangings and greeting cards from this place as a memorabilia. A special attraction of this place is cannon built from Lakhori bricks that are placed right above the gateway of the building here, visible when one enters. It may be a little difficult to spot, but it is one of the few things that were left after the British destroyed the many havelis during the 1857 uprising.

chawri bazar

  1. Khari Baoli : Asia’s biggest spice market is also one of the oldest as it has been on existence for more than 4 centuries now. Initially the place had a salty stepwell (baoli) for the use of humans as well as animals which gave it its present name. There is no stepwell here anymore but the trade of spices which had began long time ago has prolifered like never before. Spices are sourced here from as far as Afghanistan and the shopkeepers are more than happy to tell about the history of each spice’s origin. The ones on offer here are pink salt, black salt, dried mulberries, dry fruits and herbs.

Additional tip : Master ji ki Haveli

Masterji Ki Haveli is one of the oldest standing havelis in the area which is a recommended visit. The restored haveli is special for the reason that is has an amazing display of art and Old Delhi nostalgia paired with a great vegetarian cuisine to try for all the visitors. The food is cooked in front of the guests from scratch which can be enjoyed on their wide open terrace that offers a wonderful view of the city along with a sumptuous meal.

Nearest Metro Station : Chandni Chowk/Chawri Bazaar

masterji ki haveli

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